Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Guest Post: Chef's Playground

 This post is written by my brother.


A friend and I decided to meet up for brunch just to catch up. We decided to meet at Steveston to change the usual areas where we go out. We ended up eating at Chef's Playground.


There were only three tables available, luckily we were able to grab the last one. The inside is small and you need to order as soon as you enter. 

My friend decided to get the Canadian Back Bacon Benny (Free range eggs, citrus hollandaise, honey thyme glazed back bacon, House-made focaccia bread, hand-cut hash-brown).

Canadian Back Bacon Benny

I decided to grab the classic, the CPE breakfast (Sunnyside up eggs, bacon, honey thyme sausage, toast, house-made jam, hand-cut hash-brown). It was my first time going to this restaurant, so I always order the safe option for my first time.

The CPE breakfast

My friend was really hungry that day so he asked me if I wanted to share a Garlic Parmesan Onion Rings and That Style Fried Chicken, and so we did.

Garlic Parmesan Onion Rings and That Style Fried Chicken

The food was really good. I can only talk about the CPE breakfast as that was my order. The bacon was crispy and not too salty. Their homemade jam spread on the bread fit really well with the entire meal. And the hashbrowns and sausage were a good combination that balances each other out. 

The ambiance of the place was perfect for brunch and fit right in with the overall aesthetic of Steveston as a neighbourhood. I would recommend this place for people who wants to have a chill hang out with a friend.

Dinner delivery from RedBeef Noodles Kitchen

 It's an amazing night because I get to eat (devour) salt and pepper (Taiwanese-style) popcorn chicken.

We also ordered noodles which we weren't able to finish. I recommend the popcorn chicken, but not the Spicy Beef Noodle Soup. Meanwhile, the Signature Beef Quartet Noodle Soup is great as always.

I love their Redbeef branded containers. :)

Ordered two serving of Salt and Pepper Popcorn Chicken, Signature Beef Quartet Noodle Soup, and Spicy Beef Noodle Soup
My only regret is not ordering more chicken. 

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup is really spicy.


Do you have any recommendations on where I can get Taiwanese-style fried chicken in Vancouver for delivery?

Lunch delivery from TAKO

TAKO is the Korean-Mexican food fusion I never thought I'd want for today. I have been craving for kimchi and burrito (I know such a weird craving and yet here we are). I would describe their food as Korean flavours in Mexican vehicles.

I am stress eating today, so I ordered a lot of food.

Lunch from TAKO

I love how each container is properly labelled.

Bulgogi Burrito

It was delicious and perfectly sliced in the middle for sharing. The bulgogi is amazing and goes perfectly with rice. Yum!

Korean bulgogi in a delicious wrapped burrito with flavourful kimchi and pickled daikon radish

BBQ Short Rib Poutine

When we opened the container, hubby asked if that's sisig (a Filipino dish out of pig's face) because it looked like one, but it's BBQ. The red onion made it spicy, but I didn't like the dressing it came with.

BBQ Short Rib Poutine
Diced tomatoes, red onions, green onions, and barbequed short rib

Kimchi Quesadilla

My kimchi craving wasn't satisfied by the quesadilla, BUT it was so cheesy I'm willing to forgive it.

Kimchi Quesadilla
Pan-fried kimchi, bulgogi, corn, red onions, and cheese.

Sides

I love Korean sides so we ordered two!

Mandu

I have a love affair with dumplings from different countries and Korean mandu is my favourite.

Mandu - Five pieces of deep-fried mixed pork and beef dumplings with salsa

Spicy Seoul Chicken

It's not that spicy, but it goes really well with the Bulgogi Burrito. The Filipina in me is happy with rice (from the burrito) and saucy chicken combination. Under all the yummy chicken are crunchy corn chips which I thoroughly enjoyed. I kinda wished I ordered it too.

Spicy Seoul Chicken

Have you tried TAKO before? What do you think of the food?

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Lunch delivery from MeeT on Main

Saturday! I couldn't decide what I want for our takeout day. I asked my hubby what he wants and he said healthy food, so we ended up ordering from Meet on Main, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant.

Appetizer

Oyster Mushroom Kalamari

I thought the batter was too salty. Otherwise, it's crispy and crunchy. Perfect vegetarian calamari.

Oyster Mushroom Kalamari
Beer battered and spiced oyster mushrooms, topped with pickled onions, and served with our ridiculously-good cucumber dill tzatziki.

Organic Steamed Kale

The cheese sauce the steamed kale came with is delicious. Definitely, the best the thing we ordered today.

Organic Steamed Kale
Black and white sesame seeds, scallions and house-made cashew gravy.

Mains

K-Town Poutine

Hubby picked poutine. It was a bit salty, but the kimchi was good.

K-Town Poutine
Fries topped with cheezy gooey gravy goodness drizzled with a sweet soy ginger sauce - topped with kimchi, and shredded nori strips. 

The Meet Burger

The burger was good. Obviously, vegan. It's not the best vegetarian burger I had.

The Meet Burger
Our signature burger patty with sautéed ‘shrooms, chipotle mayo and crispy onion strings.

Side fries with my burger


Yay for good food.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Lunch at PICA's Blue Hat Bakery

We haven't been near the office in months. Today, I have some errands to run in the area and we thought of grabbing lunch from Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts Blue Hat Bakery. I miss their sandwiches and soup as well as the nice people who work there.

We ate our food in their patio. Thankfully, it has stopped raining by the time we got there.

Sandwiches

We ordered two sandwiches: ham and brie and chicken rustico. Both were delicious and perfectly toasted.

Ham and Brie Sandwich
Chicken Rustico sandwich

Soup

For soup, we shared a large bowl of chili.

A Bowl of Chili

Pastry

You don't go to Blue Hat and not be tempted with the danishes and cakes they have on display. We ordered a chocolate almond danish and apricot almond danish.

Chocolate Almond Danish and Apricot Almond Danish


If you're in the area, get coffee or grab some of their frozen food to take home and be sure to be nice to the wonderful people who work at PICA's Blue Hat Bakery.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Guest Post: Coffee at Liberty Bakery + Cafe

This post is written by my brother.


After our lunch at The Arbor, my friend and I decided to go to a cafe to continue our chat and we went to Liberty Bakery + Cafe. I got a hot mocha and she got a macchiato. We decided to get a Totoro cookie as well. I have not watched this anime yet but I thought the design was cute and suggested it.

                                                                 Totoro cookie and Mocha


Guest Post: Lunch at The Arbor

This post is written by my brother.


Decided to meet up with a friend that I haven't seen since the pandemic started. I suggested we go to the vegetarian restaurant, The Arbor. I suggested this place because my friend is vegetarian and she would always have limited options whenever we eat out.

I decided to go with the Kimchi burger with Togarashi fries because I thought it seemed interesting while my friend decided to get the Arburger. 

                                                                        Kimchi Burger
                                                                       Togarashi Fries
                                                                          Arburger

We cut our burgers in half and gave the other half to each other so that we can taste them both. My friend was really skeptical about the Kimchi burger but when she tried it, she really liked it. She especially complimented that the kimchi was well made, compared to other non Korean restaurants that made them. This is big praise coming from her as she is Korean. I would agree as well, the Kimchi burger was unique and tasteful. 

                                                                Kimchi burger (cut in half)

The Arburger tasted like a real good normal burger. Since this is a vegetarian restaurant, the patty isn't made of beef but you could have fooled me. The patty was delicious and well done. The Togarashi fries were good as well and a perfect compliment to our meal. 


My honest HelloFresh Canada review: Why HelloFresh doesn't work for me?

I ordered HelloFresh because a friend gave me a discount code. I got 4 meals for 2 persons for free, and it arrived yesterday.

I cooked two of the four meals already, and below are my reasons why it doesn't work for me.

1. It's expensive.

4 meals for 2 costs $89.99 + shipping. A hundred dollars for 8 meals, which means each meal costs $12.50. It's cheaper than takeout but definitely more expensive than my weekly grocery budget, which is more than sufficient to feed us for all our meals (7 days x 3 meals per day).

HelloFresh receipt



2. It's too much effort.

I cook at home, and most of what I prepare is family-style, which we can reheat for x number of meals. Using HelloFresh so far is too much effort. I cook, and we eat it for one meal. I'm exhausted, and hubby is exhausted from cleaning all the tools I used.

3. It's not that delicious.

Either I'm bad at following the instructions, but the food is alright. It's nothing to "wow" about, but if I'll justify the $100 per week as a replacement for my takeout food budget, then no. I'd instead order takeout—no effort and definitely delicious.

4. The recipes are complicated.

I tried to order recipes that don't require an oven because we don't have one. I made a mistake and ordered Caprese Pasta with Fresh Mozzarella and Roasted Mediterranean Veggies, which apparently require the veggies to be roasted. I also have Pork Parmesan Patties with Sweet Potato Mash and Green Beans, which I'll cook tonight.

I have tried two recipes, and below is my feedback for each.

Black Bean Tacos and Tomato Pepper Salsa with Beyond Meat and Crema

It's my first time creating a salsa, and it's the best part of the recipe. The lime and cilantro are great flavours with the taco. It came with 6 tortillas, which isn't enough. We actually have extra salsa and filling. The filling is dry. I realize I really don't like Beyond Meat, which is unfortunate. The first taco was great, but by the third taco, I find everything too much.


Pulled Buffalo Chicken Bowl with Quinoa, Corn, Avocado and Feta

This is easier to prepare, except that I have no idea how to peel and cut the avocado.  Other than that, it's filling, but not something I would want to eat again.

Pulled Buffalo Chicken Bowl with Quinoa, Corn, Avocado and Feta

Pork Parmesan Patties with Sweet Potato Mash and Green Beans
The pork parmesan patties are the best part of the dish. It's so good, I'm planning to make it again in a bigger batch.
Caprese Pasta with Fresh Mozzarella and Roasted Mediterranean Veggies

5. Too much packaging waste.

Everything came in a big HelloFresh box. Each meal is individually packaged in its own paper bag, some ingredients are in plastic, and there's ice gel packaging at the bottom of the box to keep the meat fresh, but it clogged our sink. A big facepalm because the ice packaging says it should be drained, so we just put it in our kitchen sink.


For now, we'll continue doing grocery run once a week and I'll continue cooking family-style food we already love.

Have you tried HelloFresh? How's your experience?

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Lunch deliver from McDonald's: We tried all the Spicy McChicken®

Saturday means takeout food. I love spicy food, so it's a no-brainer that when we heard that McDonald's is back with their Spicy McChicken® Challenge, we will try it.

Too much fast-food! It's our McDonald's feast for the day.

Habanero McChicken®

It was spicy. There was some heat, but nothing too bad.

Habanero McChicken® 

Scotch Bonnet McChicken®

The Scotch Bonnet McChicken® is only available from September 1 to 28. It's definitely spicier than the Habanero, but nothing to cry about. 

Scotch Bonnet McChicken®

Ghost Pepper McChicken®

Of course, the Ghost Pepper McChicken® is spiciest among the three, and it did pack a punch, but the sauce was so delicious with the chicken, it's great! The Ghost Pepper McChicken is only available from September 15 to 28.

Ghost Pepper McChicken®

In the Spicy McChicken Challenge, the bun, chicken, lettuce are all the same - it's just really the sauce that changes, so it's not really enough to bring people to tears (unless you don't like spicy food). My hubby did sweat a lot even before we started eating. The smell of it all got to him. He was still able to finish his McChicken, though.

Sides and More

I was feeling greedy today and decided to order more. I ordered 20-piece Nuggets, 3 Large Fries, Poutine, and 3 Large Iced Tea. We didn't finish it all. LOL Fast food leftovers are not ideal, but I"ll find a way to reheat them and make them edible again.

20-piece Chicken McNuggets and all the 5 available dipping sauces

Large French Fries
Poutine

Food coma Saturday while watching Bull.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Lunch delivery from Domino's Pizza

In my last post about Olive Garden, I mentioned that I like Domino's carbonara, so I thought of ordering it for lunch the day after eating the one from Olive Garden to do a comparison.

Domino's Pasta

Chicken Carbonara

Compared to the carbonara from Olive Garden, the one from Domino's is not as heavy and creamy. It's a bit watered down. I do love the bacon, grilled chicken, and mushroom better so topping wise Domino's got it right. For $7.50, it's a satisfying dish.

Chicken Carbonara
Grilled 100% all-white meat chicken, bacon, onions and mushrooms mixed with penne pasta and baked to perfection with creamy sauce.


Italian Sausage Marinara

I thought of ordering the Chicken Alfredo for hubby so he can compare it from the one in Olive Garden, but he said he wants something different, so I got him the tomato-based Italian Sausage Marinara, instead.
Italian Sausage Marinara
Penne pasta baked in a zesty marinara sauce with Italian sausage, a blend of Italian seasonings and Provolone cheese.


Domino's Side: Chicken

I ordered the Boneless Chicken with BBQ sauce.

Boneless Chicken
Boneless chicken is lightly breaded with savoury herbs, made with 100% white breast meat. Comes with our signature BBQ sauce for dipping.


Domino's Side: Bread

I also got us Parmesan Bites. My only regret is not ordering a Marinara Sauce Cup with it.

Parmesan Bites
Oven-baked bread bites handmade from the buttery-tasting dough and seasoned with garlic and Parmesan. 

Where is your favourite place in Vancouver to get Carbonara?

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Ice Cream from Seaside Scoop

After a complete meal at Olive Garden, we drove to White Rock and walked around the pier. Before heading home, we decided to eat ice cream from Seaside Scoop.

I had my usual flavour, Cappuccino while hubby had pistachio.

My 1-scoop of cappuccino ice cream in a cup with a waffle cone on top
Hubby's 1-scoop pistachio ice cream in a cup with waffle cone on top

Yay for Saturday!


Lunch at Olive Garden in Langley, BC

My sister called me early Friday morning asking if we want to go with them to Langley to have lunch at Olive Garden the following day. I said yes because I have been craving pasta all week. I have been thinking about getting carbonara from Domino's Pizza, which I enjoy.

After a 30-minute drive to Olive Garden, we had lunch. Of course, we have to enjoy ourselves together separately. Hubby and I enjoyed a private lunch together while my parents and three siblings sat it on another table on the other end of the restaurant.

Appetizer

To start our lunch date, we ordered A Sampler Italiano with Calamari, Fried Mozzarella, and Lasagna Fritta. A choice between soup and salad came with our main course, so we both ordered their creamy soup.

A Sampler Italiano

For the appetizer sampler, we picked calamari, fried mozzarella, and lasagna Fritta. My favourite of the tree was calamari. The mozzarella was not the best one I've tried, and it wasn't hot when it arrived at our table. The lasagna Fritta, I just didn't know what to expect.

A Sampler Italiano

Lasagna Fritta and Mozzarella Sticks

Calamari - lightly breaded and fried squid served with marinara and spicy ranch.


Soup

Chicken and Gnocchi

For soup, I picked the Chicken & Gnocchi, which was still as delicious as I remembered.

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
Chicken and Gnocchi Soup is a creamy soup made with roasted chicken, Italian dumplings, and spinach.

Zuppa Toscana

Meanwhile, hubby ordered the Zuppa Toscana, and I liked it better than the Chicken and Gnocchi. I'm making a mental note to get that next time.

Zuppa Toscana Soup
Zuppa Tuscana includes spicy Italian sausage, kale, and potatoes in a creamy broth.

Main Course

I have been craving pasta all week. I just didn't know it's carbonara I am thinking about until I thought about Domino's Pizza.

Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara

By the time my carbonara arrived, I was nearly full, and the first bite was delicious. The chicken was a bit sweet, while the shrimp was cooked perfectly. However, the sauce itself felt heavy, and there was nothing to cut through all the cream and oil. I kinda wished the chicken was grilled instead of fried.

Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara
Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara is spaghetti tossed in a creamy sauce with bacon and roasted peppers.


Steak Alfredo

Hubby ordered from the "Amazing Alfredos" section of the menu. I just took a small bite of the steak and the pasta, and both were good. We took some home, so I'll enjoy it tomorrow.

Steak Alfredo
Steak Alfredo includes grilled 6 oz sirloin topped with garlic herb butter and fettuccine alfredo.

Dessert

Olive Garden has some really great dessert options.

Chocolate Brownie Lasagna

We settled with Chocolate Brownie Lasagna. It was sweet and decadent. Surprisingly, we didn't finish it even with the hot tea, so yay for having dessert tomorrow.

Top-View of Chocolate Brownie Lasagna
Chocolate Brownie Lasagna

Side-View of Chocolate Brownie Lasagna
Chocolate Brownie Lasagna is eight layers of rich, fudgy brownie and sweet vanilla cream cheese frosting with chocolate drizzle. Yum!

Drinks

For drinks, I had an unlimited iced tea while hubby enjoyed the Blackberry-Pineapple Iced Tea. After the meal, while enjoying dessert, I ordered a hot tea because I felt too full to finish dessert.

I can't wait to go back here and try their other kinds of pasta dishes.